I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. I have absolutely loved this series so far and this book was no exception. It was the best book of the series and just absolutely wonderful.
Evie is at University studying like shes always wanted, but shes not getting to study what she wants and she is still the pawn of the Gold King and trapped at the University by the magical bracelets she is forced to wear. Nick is missing and presumed dead. Tobias is also ensnared in the Gold Kings trap and is stuck working as his Maker. Imogen remains in a coma and undergoes a frightful journey of her own to escape the imprisonment of her soul. The Baskerville affair is finally starting to reveal itself and leads to an awesome final showdown between the leaders of the Baskerville affair and the Steam Barons.
Wow...this was a wonderful series. Its full of gadgets, magic, intrigue, mystery, action, adventure, and a bit of romance. I loved it. This is a long book, but it never lags...it was impossible to put down and was just a wonderful read. There are so many mysteries revealed. We finally learn what the Baskerville Affair is and who the Schoolmaster is.
Evie goes through a lot of changes in this book and some of them are pretty dark. She ends up having to use the dark side of her magic in a big way to survive. And man when Evie goes dark she does it all the way. I was amazed at how much she changes and how she ends up balancing everything in the end. I also loved that there isnt a love triangle anymore, all of that is resolved in the second book. Evie loves Nick and Nick loves her and that is that.
Tobias features a lot in the story. He has moved on with his life as well and is trying to make a life with Alice. I do wish Alice had featured in the book a bit more, I love her character as well. Anyway, Tobias is the Gold Kings maker and torn between protecting his family by doing what the Gold King wants and helping the rebellion. Tobias walks a fine line and does it fairly well.
Imogen also features a lot in the story but it a totally different way. She is in a coma for most of the book and is fighting in a different place to free her soul. I wont say too much about this except to say that Imogen ends up having a tough streak that I never knew about before and faces some truly scary scenarios.
We also learn a lot more about the different Steam Barons in this book. The Blue Baron, Violet Baron, and Scarlet Barons are all in the story a lot. However, the best part of the whole book is when we get to meet the Black Kingdom leader. The Black Kingdom has long remained a mystery, but finally that mystery is unveiled and it is more awesome that I could have imagined.I loved it!
Of course there is the epic final battle between the Steam Barons and the rebellion. This was full of delightful gadgets and truly awful inventions, it was fantastic.
My only complaint is that there are some things that arent wrapped up all that well. For example Tobias and Imogen both have a lot of loose ends. Then the way things end with Evie and Nick is just begging for more adventurous stories about the two. There are so many side characters that I want to read more about!
Overall an absolutely wonderful read, I adored this whole steampunk series. It was epic in proportions, had some humor, was complex, had wonderful world-building, excellent characterization and was just wonderfully done. I really cant recommend it highly enough, as a series it was one of the most fantastic reads of the year for me. It was just beautifully written and finely crafted and just perfect.